Notable student exchange program sends Carthage student to Germany for a year’s study

CARTHAGE, Mo. – 17-year-old Carthage senior Emma Evans was recently selected to receive the distinguished Congress–Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship (CBYX). 

In order to strengthen bonds between the United States and Germany, the scholarship enables American and German students to visit each other’s countries as exchange students. The program started in 1984 and only 250 – 280 students are selected to receive the award each year. 

CBYX is funded and organized by the U.S. Congress and Germany’s governing body, Bundestag. Youth For Understanding (YFU) supplies the Missouri program through an agreement with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Evans traveled to Germany two weeks ago to meet her new host family, whom she is already extremely fond of. The Carthage senior also gained a few siblings on the trip as she has a 10-year-old host brother and a 14-year-old host sister.

Although Evans’ host family does speak English, she told The Heartlander that they rarely speak it around her because she is trying her best to learn their native German tongue. Evans will spend her entire school year in Freinsheim, Germany, and will not return to Carthage until May or June, so it’s safe to assume she’ll have plenty of time to pick up the dialect.

Thus far, Evans hasn’t gotten to explore the area much but says that she specifically loves the bread in Germany and that it has quickly become her favorite food there.

“If I could eat it all day I would, it is that good,” Evans said with a chuckle. “Sadly, if I did that I would get sick but I still think about doing it, sometimes.”

Currently, the Congress-Bundestag program is available to high school students who are 15-18 years old with a 2.5 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale. Students must also be a United States resident, permanent resident or an American national. 

Applicants first must advance through a lengthy interview process conducted by the selection committee. The committee will then forward the best candidates and their information to the administering organizations for scholarship approval. 

The CBYX scholarship covers costs and expenses for round-trip international transportation, medical benefits, lodging, tuition and academic materials, international Visa fees and in-country support. Meals are provided by the volunteer host family.

Individuals interested can visit the CBYX program’s website for more information and how to apply for the scholarship. American families interested in hosting a German exchange student can also apply on the YBU website.

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